April – beautiful month of early Spring and the welcome return of birds and flowers and leaves on trees. Motivation and new energies coming at us from all directions.
www.nebraskahighway2.com is undergoing a complete redesign of the website. We are making the website semantically correct — to aid those with visual disabilities and also making it responsive. Those visiting and traveling the highway and exploring the communities are relying on their smart phones and tablets for information on events and ammenities. Will they find you?
We are also updating the Farmer’s Markets page so the information is accurate and up to date. In anticipation of the thousands of visitors that Nebraska will play host to this August alone for the total solar eclipse and that huge economic stimulator we want your business to be found. The total solar eclipse alone will bring hundreds if not thousands of dollars into our communities and our businesses need to make the very most of it!
We are working towards the date of June 1st for our total renovation to be up and live including the webpages for the communities of Broken Bow and Lincoln! A big order but well worth the investment. Speaking of investments, will your business be found on the internet by visitors this summer? Place an ad on www.nebraskahighway2.com and reap the rewards of having an ad accessible 24 hours everyday by anyone in the world!
The weather in Nebraska is always varied. The saying “if you don’t like the weather just a wait a few days” is well known around our State. This week – In FEBRUARY – we are enjoying warm, sunny 70 degree temperatures. And in two days we will have a winter storm watch bringing a possible foot of snow for the northern and western sections of our State. What? Yes, say the weather predictors. Oh, okay.
I have been attending the Nebraska Agri-Tourism Conference in beautiful Broken Bow, Nebraska this week. Yesterday, we traveled a few miles out of Broken Bow into the Sandhills and visited the Kinkaiders Brewery. What a lovely day it was. The business owners shared their stories of how they came to start their business, the support from the community they received and their hopes for the future of their business. We then broke into groups and toured the buildings and the taproom and enjoyed a cool beverage outside on the deck.
Supper was deliciously provided by Kinkaider’s restaurant chef, MIchelle Paris, a longtime chef from Portland, Oregon.
The first day of the Nebraska Agri-Tourism Conference was full of information, lots of laughs, great food and drink and the opportunity to meet many new and familiar faces from around our State. Looking forward to today’s full schedule!
January 2017 is almost behind us in the rear view mirror. Closer and closer to Spring we are coming. I am beginning to shake off the lethargy of winter and its grey, cold days and dream of new, young green sprouts poking up from newly turned earth. Green buds on the trees and the early flowers; tulips, crocus, daffodils. The Sandhill cranes and snow geese will be circling overhead their distinctive cries filling the skies as they make their way home northbound.
The Crane Center near Alda, Nebraska is just a very short way from Nebraska Highway 2 as it passes through Grand Island, Nebraska. The Center offers early morning and early evening viewing but you need to reserve a place soon as they sell out quickly. The experience of the thousands of cranes in the Platte River and flying overhead is something that will stir your inner soul and will leave your spirit forever changed. Find it on the internet here: https://cranetrust.org.
There was a time when I was an absolute news junky. Read newspapers, listened to morning and evening news shows… no longer. Now I want to shut out the nonsense, the ugliness, the tradgedies happening here at home and abroad. The best way to do this? Get out there on the highway and drive. My favorite drive is on Nebraska highway 2 of course. Westward bound. Up to Halsey National Forest. On to Mullen. Maybe out to Crawford and the beauty of the Pine Ridge area of Northwest Nebraska. Open spaces. Big skies. The feeling that you can go forever into solitude and nature. And escape the noise of the civilized world that’s not so civil these days. How about you? Where is your favorite drive?
It seems looking back that Nebraska highway 2 has been my mother… she raised me… sent me soaring to the faraway horizons…
We grew up not far from the farmer immigrant germans who settled near the mighty Missouri river where the roads rolled up and down over hill after hill. Our lives were in the city but our center was a small town in southeast Nebraska and we traveled that highway 2 almost every weekend. We were going “downhome” as my father said. Downhome was a small farm on the outskirts of a small town. We could walk into town as we grew old enough. Grampa was the town barber and for a few years he and Gramma owned and operated the town hatchery and the town Variety store. We also rode our bikes back and forth from the farm to town when we were permitted. There were no worries about child kidnappings or busy roads. We enjoyed a freedom children today have no idea of. Even the city life we lived was one without fear. Playing outside after dark, taking the bus downtown alone, walking or riding our bicycles anywhere in the neighborhood. Now, we keep a close eye on our children at all times, accompanying them on their neighborhood journeys, having them check in consistently, it is a different world then what we grew up in.
Family vacation times are important for ourselves and our children. Exploring our home state or traveling to places farther away, experiencing new horizons and meeting the great people living in the small communities is so important in developing a sense of place for our families. The world is out there to be explored and for memories to be made to take back home and relived.
Each of the communities along Nebraska Highway 2 are planning events for you to share in. Visit the community pages on www.nebraskahighway2.com to help you plan your travels along the highway and make some memories!
Things have changed. That seems an obvious statement but really, things have changed. In the past it was expected that once the farmer’s child graduated from high school they went on to college or university and settled in a large town or city to make their way. Few returned to the farm or small town where they were raised. There weren’t enough opportunities to make a living for themselves and their young families. But now! There are so many opportunities to work from home via the internet and to live in rural areas and on farms or ranches. And where there are young families there are opportunities for other businesses to grow and thrive to meet the needs and wants of these young families. Have you considered moving to a small community. A peaceful, clean, community focused home town? And just why not?
The summer has whispered good-bye and brilliant golden October is upon us. I hope you took the opportunity to travel our place in the world, so much to see and so many people to meet here in Nebraska.
The weekend of October 16th through the 18th will be the annual Sandhills Journey Byway “Follow the Rails Art Trail”. Visit the website at http://followtherailsarttrail.com. Meet artists and the communities that support them. The weather looks promising and will be a work of art itself.
It’s the middle of June and the gardens are planted and the Farmer’s Markets are going strong. Families are traveling towards vacation spots across our lands and striving to make memories for the young and for the old.
Our family had a get-to-gether at a horse arena to watch one of our young lovelies race her horse around barrels against a clock.
Was a relaxing laugh filled horsey time sitting in on those metal seats in the stands and around the “Look for the white trailer pulled by the white and black pick-up”. Inside joke. There were a thousand or so white trailers and white and black pick-ups. It got some of us wondering if those instructions were purposely anti-instructions? Just kidding Pat!
City kids joining with some country kids and enjoying it all together. Petting the horse and getting to sit on the horse while being led around the parking lot.
Big smiles and some hiding behind Nana’s legs and Noooo I don’t want to ride on the horse thank you.
A late Mexican restaurant supper afterwards. Delicious food and drink and a server that was outstanding in his abilities and hospitality in taking an order for 18 at ten minutes before closing time. Was a wonderful evening full of laughter and stories, many pictures and some great memories were made.
Soon young sweet granddaughter will be arriving to spend a few days with Nana and Grampa. Thinking about what we will be doing to make some memories for her. And us.
Why our fascination with numbers? Today’s date is 5-15-15 and as many have pointed out, all the dates this week are the same backwards and forwards. “They” say music is numbers, the universe is numbers, but aren’t numbers created by humankind to count and designate? What is a natural number? Anyway, I ponder this date mostly because it is my mother’s birthday. She is an ageless 81 and active and alert as anyone would hope to be at her age. I wonder if when you are 81 do you wake each morning full of surprise and thankfulness or with disappointment that you are facing another day? I hope to wake thankfully until I wake no more.
I may be dwelling on death today in light of the passing of BB King yesterday. He was 89 years old and for a blues man that is a good long life. I heard BB King play live twice in Lincoln, Nebraska and he was an incredible musician. I am grateful I had the experience to hear him. His music lives on and many musicians credit him with their love, obsession and pursuit of creating music. Music speaks to us on so many different levels. I know in my own life music has been a constant companion through my days and nights. Lying awake in my parents’ house late at night listening to my bedside a.m. radio, singing along, annoying my sister who shared my bed and dreaming of growing up and living the lyrics for myself. Emotions and dreams stirred up upon hearing a long-ago song.
Now these days will find me driving across the plains of Nebraska listening to my own personal choices of music for hours through the magic of a computer thumb drive. Upon arrival at a campground I can then turn on the laptop computer and create a background for stargazing or fire cracklings.
Sometimes it is nice however to turn the man made music off and listen to the sounds of the night. Nature plays some beautiful tunes of her own and we should listen.
Today nature is loud and wet all across the State of Nebraska. One should remember that Mother Nature can become quite violent this time of year as many have already witnessed so pay attention to what is happening overhead.
What was that? I think I hear BB King playing some soulful blues up there in those clouds. Yep, that was definitely Lucille. Rest in Peace BB King. We loved you.
Glad the hot weather did not stick around very long. Much much too early for that kind of heat. Now this feels like Spring, 40 degrees and sunny skies. The tulips are up and here and there are a few purple hyacinths. Spring is lovely when its cool and the blooms open up. The flowering trees with their cotton ball white flowers and those with their bright yellow blooms are everywhere in this neighborhood.
Since January I have been taking yet another class from the local community college. As a liberal arts university student I have found that I was lacking in business education even though I have worked in a law office for 25 years. My paralegal education touched on businesses but mostly business law. There is not much marketing in a law office business as it mostly word of mouth and the bookkeeping I did relied on the software packages on the computer. Delving into an entrepreneurship class has opened my eyes to many aspects of running a business and acquiring customers and keeping those customers happy and provided for. The small town communities need thriving businesses in order to survive and tourist dollars will add to improving economics in small town communities. Due to the internet, many young people are returning to their small town roots to live and raise their families. But they still need amenities close to home and businesses need to grow. Please support small businesses. They support many wonderful people, things and places.
Today, the Spring road is beckoning again and as everything is greening up it seems a great time to get out and explore Nebraskahighway2 and meet people in the communities and make some new friends! Happy Oestre and welcome Spring!